Want to read more? Subscribe Now or Sign In
Hide ( X )
  • THE CRIME REPORT - Your Complete Criminal Justice Resource

  • Investigative News Network
  • Welcome to the Crime Report. Today is

Crime and Justice News

1 2 3 4 5 .. 1593   > >

Are Local Cops Using Too Much Free Military Gear For Routine Policing?

Ohio and Kentucky police departments have snagged $80 million worth of military equipment, everything from grenade launchers to body armor to M16 rifles, through the federal program that allows local law enforcement agencies to get surplus equipment from the Pentagon, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The program has come under new scrutiny after police in Ferguson, Mo., responded to civil unrest clad in body armor and camouflage, driving armored vehicles, and carrying assault rifles. It has also sparked a national debate about the "militarization" of local police. Backers of the Pentagon program say the equipment is vital for strapped local agencies that need to be prepared for dicey situations, including possible terrorist attacks.

Critics say local law enforcement officials now look more like they're prepared for combat in Iraq than for patrolling local communities. "One of the most alarming trends we've seen has been the militarization of American policing," said Tim Lynch of the libertarian Cato Institute. He said paramilitary units – like SWAT teams – were initially only in big cities, but now they're in small towns across America. And they are not just being used for extraordinary situations, as they were in the beginning. Nowadays, they are called out for routine policing."

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

L.A. Approves $5 Million Settlement In Police Killing Of Unarmed Vet

The Los Angeles City Council has approved a $5-million settlement with the family of an unarmed National Guard veteran killed on live television in a barrage of gunfire at the end of a wild pursuit last year in downtown L.A., the Los Angeles Times reports. The proposed payout is the largest settlement the city has made in a fatal police shooting case in at least a decade and comes after Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck raised concerns about the officers' tactics.

Brian Newt Beaird, 51, led police on a dangerous pursuit on Dec. 13, weaving in and out of traffic in his Corvette at a high rate of speed. He was shot after he crashed into another vehicle and staggered out of the sports car. The officers who opened fire have been on paid leave. Councilman Bernard Parks, a former LAPD chief, said that the case was serious enough to warrant such a large payout and that a jury could have awarded far more had the case gone to trial. "This is a case that clearly had significant potential liability far beyond what the settlement offer was," he said. "It was a good business decision when you have a loss of life and you have evidence that could be viewed as overwhelming against the city of L.A."

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

Picture Of Wilson Emerges; Friend Says Shooting Not Race-Motivated

Is Texas-born Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, whose fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen ignited racial upheaval in a St. Louis suburb, an aggressor whose deadly gunfire constituted a daylight execution or a law enforcer wrongly maligned for just doing his job? The Associated Press says an incomplete picture of Wilson has emerged since Aug. 9, when authorities say the white six-year police veteran killed Michael Brown during a confrontation in the predominantly black city where all but three of the 53 police officers are white. The 28-year-old officer has gone underground since the shooting, with relatives contacted by AP refusing to reveal his whereabouts or discuss the shooting or Wilson's background.

His parents were married only four years before divorcing in 1989. Court records say Wilson divorced last November. His mother, a convicted forger and alleged con artist, died 12 years ago. Wilson got a commendation in February from the Ferguson police force, four years into his job there. An online fundraising drive on Wilson's behalf has drawn $77,000 in donations for the tall, slender and blond-haired cop. A longtime friend, former high school classmate and hockey buddy Jake Shepard, has come to Wilson's defense, insisting that the shy Wilson would never maliciously take a life and fears possible retribution. Having talked to Wilson since the shooting, Shepard said, "I think he's kind of struggling a little bit, but I think he's doing OK." Shepard added, "I can tell you for sure it was not racially motivated."

 

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

Worries About Racial Unrest In NYC Police Violence Protest March Saturday

Many are worried that the racial unrest in Ferguson, Mo., could erupt on the streets of New York city this weekend, with a major protest march and rally scheduled to take place in Staten Island at the site of the sidewalk killing of Eric Garner allegedly at the hands of police, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The march, already planned by the Rev. Al Sharpton two weeks before the police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, could draw more than 15,000 protesters to New York’s outer borough, drawing demonstrators both from the tri-state area and from across the U.S.

Organizers have been planning “justice caravans” of cars and buses across the Verrazano Bridge to Staten Island. Since the police shooting in Ferguson, the significance of the protest march has grown exponentially from a march against NYPD tactics and Garner’s death to a national protest of police violence against minorities. Brown’s family is expected to attend, joining the family of Garner and others who died at the hands of police. So far, there has been little violence during New York protests, and Sharpton has repeatedly urged demonstrators in Ferguson to protest peacefully. Saturday’s protest rally, dubbed the “We Will Not Go Back March” by Sharpton’s National Action Network, will start in the morning and end at 3 p.m.

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

AR Reporter Quits Over Police Chief's "Vindictive" Facebook Posts

Jonesboro, Ar., Sun police reporter Sunshine Crump resigned Monday after being repeatedly attacked on Facebook by Jonesboro Police Chief Mike Yates, reports JimRomenesko.com.. She told her paper. “I do not feel safe here, and I will not continue to be put in a position of self-defense. I am an innocent person and an American citizen.” Among the comments Yates posted about the reporter: “Pro-dope smoking, law license revoked, left wing liberal, smelly, arrested by police, unscrupulous reporter;” * “This is the kind of journalism we have now … ask ole Sunshine (reporter) why her law license got suspended next time you see her;” “Dealing with ole Sunshine is like trying to pick up a dog turd by the ‘clean end.’”

Waylon Harris, the Sun’s managing editor, quoted Crump as saying allegations about drug use were false. She said she once had a law license in Texas, but quit practice and stopped paying annual licensing fees, resulting in a procedural suspension. She was arrested once in college for participating in a protest. The charge was dropped. The newspaper’s publisher and its law firm have asked the city to take action against the chief. “Any other entity would have already fired or suspended an employee who made these types of vindictive comments,” says publisher David Mosesso, “and our city department heads should obviously be held to an even higher standard.” The chief says his comments about Crump are “constitutionally protected free speech” and that “I didn’t sacrifice my rights to freedom of speech for the sake of my job as police chief.”

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

New Orleans Murders Decline Again; Is The Trend Sustainable?

The number of murders in New Orleans continued to decline through the first half of the year, albeit at a slower pace than the substantial drop last year, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. The figures are on track for a third consecutive year of decreases in a city that has long struggled with one of the nation's worst murder rates. Police reported 70 murders in the first six months of this year, 8 percent fewer than 2013's midyear total of 76. Recent violence increased the murder count to 92 as of Thursday morning, but that's still on pace to end the year below the 156 murders in 2013.

City leaders credit an anti-gang task force and social programs launched less than two years ago, but they wondered if the positive effects will be long-lasting. The downward trend has been eclipsed at times by outbursts of deadly violence and multiple-victim shootings that made national headlines, including killings on Bourbon Street and the Lower 9th Ward this summer. The recent surge comes as police force attrition continues, and during a leadership change after the sudden retirement of Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas this week. Criminologist Peter Scharf wondered if the downward trend in murders is sustainable. "There have been positive changes," he said, adding that an estimated 140 to 150 murders for 2014 appears to be "a cautious guess." He said, "the rise in murders in the past 30 days makes even the most ardent supporters of the city's efforts fearful of a reversal of fortune."

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

DOJ Set For $17 Billion Bank Of America Settlement Over Mortgage Bonds

Bank of America’s nearly $17 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice over soured mortgage bonds is expected to be announced today, reports the Charlotte Observer. Of the total, $9.65 billion is expected to be in a penalty payment to the U.S. government and cash payments to federal agencies and various states. The rest, about $7 billion, would be in consumer relief, which could include modifications and principal reductions for home loans.

The settlement would be the largest ever between the government and a company. It would eclipse a $13 billion settlement, announced in November, between JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the Justice Department to resolve similar probes. It would also be more than Bank of America’s profits in each of the past three years. Bank of America becomes the latest major U.S. lender to settle U.S. government investigations into alleged mortgage misconduct blamed for fueling the worst U.S. economic crisis since the Great Depression. The settlement would boost Bank of America’s already-high tally for legal costs stemming from the crisis. The second-largest U.S. bank by assets has spent more than $60 billion over financial crisis-era legal issues more than any other lender has paid to resolve similar matters.

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

Men Say They Are Unfairly Victimized In Drive Against Campus Rapes

Men punished for sexual misconduct in the wave of cases sweeping college campuses are fighting back against what they call unfair student disciplinary systems and publicity that threatens to shatter their reputations, the Washington Post reports. The current and former college students describe themselves as victims of false accusations amid a national campaign led by the White House to stamp out sexual violence on campuses. While the federal push to increase awareness of sexual assault is aimed at keeping students safe and holding colleges and universities accountable, some of the accused say the pressure on their schools has led to an unfair tipping of the scales against them.

They dispute the validity of internal investigations that rely on a lower standard of proof for determining misconduct than what is required for a sex-crime conviction. They contest accounts on the Internet that label them as sexual assailants or rapists. Joshua Strange, 23, of Spartanburg, S.C., was stunned that Auburn University expelled him in 2012 for sexual misconduct even though a grand jury found insufficient evidence to prosecute him for a sex crime. The internal disciplinary proceeding began, he said, after an ex-girlfriend falsely accused him of sex assault. “The way that universities are handling the entire situation is terrible,” Strange said. “It’s kind of a broken system.” Debate over campus sex assault has exploded as college students and officials  confront questions about what constitutes consent for sex and what behavior fuels a culture that tolerates or trivializes rape.

Read full entry »

User Comments (0 )

1 2 3 4 5 .. 1593   > >

TCR at a Glance

Gun Wars

August 19, 2014

A special reporting project finds gun control advocates are making headway as a fierce battle gets underway to influence November’s...

Why ‘Shock and Awe’ Policing Fails

q & a August 18, 2014

The militaristic approach to crowd control used in Ferguson PD threatens Constitutional guarantees of peaceful assembly, says former NIJ ...

How Incarceration Affects Family Health

new & notable August 15, 2014

A study in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved finds the effects of having an incarcerated family member during child...